Wednesday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time, Year A; 21st June 2017.
Brethren: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7
There’s always this interior battle on where to draw the line in regards to generosity. “Who should I be generous to?” “How generous am I even to be to this person?” “Does this person I’m even offering help to really deserve such generosity?” In a world where it’s difficult to differentiate between the poor and those who fake being poor, these questions may rise up in our minds. But today St. Paul reminds us of a clear fact: even in the face of our unworthy attitude and sins, Our Lord God still provides for you and blesses us without questioning; amidst our fallen nature, He was generous enough to give us His Son who died for our sins; Our Saviour Jesus Christ was generous enough towards giving us His Precious Body and Blood which nourishes our souls and washes us away from every guilt. And these, was given out of Love.
We are never compelled to give, neither are we encouraged to count our giving as a great thing to be debated over as the present world makes it. Just as our Lord Jesus Christ gave his Life up for us freely, as true followers of his, we are called to give to those around us, without expectations and without self glorification.
What is that which we have that is truly ours? Our life? God owns it together with the air we breathe to sustain it. Our house, food, clothing, social position? We are only privileged to have these, not by our merits but by God’s grace. And all these have been given to us so that we can be fruitful with them and glorify God our Father through giving. By giving alms to the needy, we imitate Him who has always been generous towards us.
Today, God supplies us, the sowers with seed which we can use to multiply our resources and increase the harvest of our righteousness. Let’s be enriched by being generous in a great way, for through this we will reap thanksgiving to God (2 Corinthians 6:10-11). Like the psalmist said, “Blessed the man who fears the Lord. Open-handed, he gives to the poor, his justice stands firm for ever. His might shall be exalted in glory” (Psalm 112:9). May our love for God be reflected in our generosity and self giving to those around us for our God loves a cheerful giver.
Wednesday of the 4th Week of Easter, Year A. 10th May 2017.
At that time: Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in me, believes not in me but in Him who sent me. And he who sees me sees Him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my sayings and does not know keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
Still in a bid to enable the people believe firmly, Our Lord Jesus Christ opens up to who He is, “I have come as Light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” Not having faith in the One who loves and cares for us is like being deep in a cave: we become lost and in darkness. The present world keeps bringing up fallacies that if believed in, can draw one into the darkness, far away from God.
But today, Jesus Christ comes to us as that True Light into the world, that true Light that can lead us through to joy at moments of darkness, hard times and life’s trials, that True Light that makes us live in the dark no more. He comes not to judge but to save, that in illuminating our darkest parts and weaknesses, we might really see our wrongdoings and shortcomings and realize how much we are in need of his mercy and cleansing power. He is the powerhouse of our salvation.
Our Lord Jesus Christ cries out to us today too, he wishes that we be saved and not perish in darkness. He wishes that in firmly believing in Him and obeying our Almighty Father’s commandment, we may have eternal life. As we look and focus on Jesus, the Light of God, may he luminate our paths to our salvation.
4th Sunday of Easter, Year A; 7th May 2017.
At that time: Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him for they know his voice.” “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. I am the door; if anyone enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
John 10:1-4, 7, 9-10
Two prominent words in today’s liturgy of the word: the sheep and the shepherd.
The sheep. When the word ‘sheep’ comes up, we as Christians have that automatic default thought of the story about their seperation from the goats on the final day and how the sheep is used to depict gentleness and righteousness. But today Our Saviour lets us see the sheep through the gospel reading as something different: weak and without direction. And this is what we are if we can truly call ourselves sheep; gentle and righteous maybe, but weak and without direction. We are weak to trials and temptations on our own and bound to sin. Like sheep we are vulnerable, incapable of taking great care of our souls without grace and mercy, easily getting weary when evil strikes. We have no natural sense of the right direction most times and may deviate from the right track every now and then, if not guided.
The Shepherd. But Our Lord Jesus Christ presents Himself to us today as the Good Shepherd. He is the one who enters the sheepfold of our hearts through the open door without forcing His way in by climbing over our walls. He is the right voice we the sheep are to listen to and follow for it is He who gives us repose in fresh and greener pastures, leading us near restful waters thus reviving our souls. He is the door to our salvation, the door to the blessings and eternal life we seek.
Although we as sheep are weak and seem not to know which way to go in life, our Lord Jesus the Good Shepherd assures us of how he is willing to go a great measure to protect us from the evil ones and save us from our foes. Like St. Peter in the first reading, we need to “save ourselves from this crooked generation,” a generation where the predator seeks to devour and destroy the sheep. We need to flee from the voice that calls out to us to sin.
The Good Shepherd never stops calling us whenever we go astray to the voices of the world. May we listen to Him so that goodness and mercy shall be truly ours.
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A; 15th January 2017
At that time: John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world! This is of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”
In today’s gospel, John the Baptist proclaims an essential truth to the people: ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!’. He bears witness to the Son of God-to He who the prophet Isaiah called ‘the light of the world, that salvation may reach to the end of the earth’ (Isaiah 49:6).
We are challenged to do the same: like Paul, to be an apostle of Jesus, to be saints and call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; to be witnesses to our Saviour (1 Corinthians 1:1-3). We don’t have to know Him 100 percent, we won’t be able to fathom an indepth knowledge of Him if our minds were open to such. But by the grace God gives us and through the Holy Spirit, we can know Him enough. Pray that the Holy Spirit opens our hearts and minds to the reality of Jesus Christ. He is God made man, yet that humble servant, Israel in whom God is glorified, He is the light of all nations and the key to our salvation. Above all, He is the One who takes away the sins of the world.
Jesus comes to us today. ‘Who do you behold?’ Be a witness to Christ this week, not just in words, but in actions. Like the psalmist, let us go to Him and say, “See I have come, Lord, to do your will.”(Psalm 40:7)